The release of Casey James’ self-titled debut CD is just one week away. Fans may feel as if they’ve been waiting forever to hold the jewel case, open it up to look at the photos and read the liner notes, and slide the shiny disc into their CD player for their first listen to what Casey has been working on since he bid farewell on American Idol almost two years ago.
The release of some tracks off the album have whetted the already ravenous appetite for the CD, but nothing will replace the feeling of listening in order, uninterrupted, to each song that Casey has painstakingly crafted.
Casey told me in an interview over a year ago that “My music is an extension of who I am and what I went through and what I know musically.” This combination will be on full display in the eleven songs that make up his first Sony/BNA record, starting, not coincidentally, with what could be Casey’s personal theme song, the optimistic “The Good Life.”
While twenty-two months may seem like a long time to be in a state of anticipation, the fans should know that they’re not the only ones who can’t wait for 3/20. Way back in October of 2010, as Casey was heading for Nashville to begin work on his album, he was already brimming with excitement. “The music that’s going to be on the CD and the music that I’m going to be playing for people, is just going to be…” Casey let out a loud, “ahhh.” His enthusiasm about the future was palpable. “I just can’t wait.”
Casey has assured fans that when they hear the record they will know it has been worth the wait. Finally, instead of Casey talking about the record, his music will speak for itself. Before he started working on the album, Casey already had a vision of what it would sound like. “I’m not going to sound like anyone else; I’m going to do what I do,” he told me at the time.
Casey was optimistic, if a bit mysterious, about his musical direction. “If it goes the way that I’d love it to go, people will get it. It will feel right and it’ll be a whole new thing. I love thinking about that. Obviously, it’s a big chance. But that’s the way it goes and I’m excited about it.”
So why did it take so long for the album to be finished and released? Because Casey is used to being patient. Remember, while he may have been “discovered” on American Idol, his was an overnight success-story eleven years in the making. Casey had been playing in every kind of live music venue in and around Texas for over a decade before making his name on the #1 TV show in the country.
But if you think Casey regrets for one minute how long it took him to get to this point, you’d be wrong. “The years… I wouldn’t trade the years that I worked for anything,” he told me. “Because they helped establish me, musically, and make me who I am musically. They helped me to grow, which I will always continue to do. Now more than ever.”
Almost eighteen months ago, Casey was appreciative and optimistic about the tremendous opportunity he was given to work with some of the best writers in Nashville and make a record for Sony/BNA Records. “I’m pretty excited. I don’t think there’ll be any problem with things going the way they need to go. I’m a firm believer in things work out. … You hope for the best and you work for the best and you want the best. I think that’ll happen and we’ll see what happens.”
In one more week, we’ll see – and hear – if things did indeed work out. From the snippets we’ve heard thus far, and the early review from Country Weekly, it looks like Casey was right to be optimistic and his fans were right in sticking with him.